The weather may be balmy in sunny Los Angeles, but the political climate is anything but.
Police are targeting immigrants, unionists, and radicals; 58,000 people are homeless, 30 percent of them women; the right wing is in a frenzy over LGBT rights; and the doors of education are closed to many young people of color, while the doors of the prison-industrial complex are wide open. At the same time, LA is a national flashpoint for struggles against injustices like these.
That makes LA the perfect place for the revolutionary feminist Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) to convene over the Memorial Day weekend, May 24-27. The convention will be an opportunity for FSP members and friends to discuss how best to tackle the problems of the day, from the calamitous effects of the Great Recession on workers and the poor to the challenge of saving the planet from the fossil fuel ogres.
Looking back to look forward. The party will evaluate our work since the last congress, in 2010, in order to better plan for the future. The gathering this year will be held at the AFSCME 36 District Council hall — a wonderfully apt site given the FSP’s focus on organizing in the labor movement, especially among public workers.
FSP’s work in labor has centered recently on opposing budget cuts, job losses, and take-backs — in a word, austerity. Our members in unions have been pushing their officials to act since Day One of the economic downturn — and have been leading the way by initiating fight-backs themselves.
The writer of the main position paper to be discussed at the convention, Steve Hoffman, is an AFSCME member who organized the first post-recession rally against cutbacks in Washington state. The party supported its sister organization, Radical Women, in its successful battle to stop the shutdown of Washington’s low-income health program.
With public education under the gun, FSP has helped lead campaigns to save it, especially in branches on the East Coast and in California — following through on a priority set at the last convention. In fights like the one to save City College of San Francisco, comrades organize side by side with students, faculty, staff and community to preserve public education and defend its workforce.
Our political emphasis is always on the people most abused by the profit system and most ready to jump into battles against it. We campaign hard for childcare, against deportations and anti-immigrant checkpoints, and in defense of political prisoners and those unjustly incarcerated, like Lynne Stewart, Marissa Alexander, and Nestora Salgado. (Click links for current stories, and see more in the FS archives.)
Going forward together. What’s described above gives just a taste of the causes that FSP is steeped in. Regular readers of the Freedom Socialist will be familiar with our write-in presidential campaign in 2012, involvement with the Occupy movement, support for the longshore workers up and down the West Coast, regroupment with Latin American socialists, and engagement with environmental issues, for example.
But we hope this taste will pique the interest of veteran activists and, especially, young people looking for a good place to take their passion for change.
The four days of the convention will include public sessions and workshops. Session topics will range from the environmental crisis to how leftists can achieve real collaboration with one another in the electoral and other arenas. Workshops will include everything from Marxist ABCs to practical discussions about organizing a united front or fighting a union contract battle.
International guests from Australia and elsewhere on this Pale Blue Dot will be on hand to offer their perspectives and insights. And there will be time for socializing and getting to know one another!
The convention will also include closed sessions. The membership is FSP’s highest decision-making body, and conventions allow comrades to debate freely, vote on the actions that the party will take in the next period, and elect its next national leadership committee. This is the party’s democracy in action.
Readers can join us for the convention’s open sessions, and we hope you will! If you are interested, please call or email FSP National Secretary Doug Barnes, 206-985-4621 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He’ll be happy to hear from you — and he will also have ideas about how you can get involved right now!
Send feedback to FS Managing Editor Andrea Bauer at FSnews@mindspring.com .
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